Tussle on GOP rule change slowing action on Senate budget

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Thursday, April 2, 2015 12:56pm
  • Local News

Senate Republicans want to make it harder to amend their proposed budget in today’s scheduled vote.

But the reason may have less to do with blunting desires of Democrats and more to do with protecting potential GOP candidates for governor in 2016.

Republican leaders want a rule change to require a supermajority of 60 percent to pass any floor amendment. That means passage would require votes of at least 30 of the 49 senators.

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, the Senate had not acted on the rule change nor begun debate on the proposed budget.

Democrats have drawn up roughly 50 amendments and it would certainly be difficult to pass them all because the caucus only has 23 members.

Of particular concern to Republicans are those dealing with politically divisive subjects such as studying climate change and requiring state-hired contractors to abide by Washington’s anti-discrimination laws. Democrats would likely try to portray Republicans in a bad light if those items don’t pass.

That’s why the rule change could be helpful for moderate Republicans like Sen. Andy Hill of Redmond, a possible 2016 candidate for governor, and Sens. Joe Fain of Auburn, Steve Litzow of Mercer Island and Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup.

Each of them could vote for a Democrat-sponsored amendment on a controversial subject and it still would not pass. In doing so they avoid casting votes that Democrats could use against them in a future campaign.

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